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Winston Peak, Winston Ridge, Mount Akawie

23 September 1995

By: Penelope May

Leaders: John Wells, Penelope May

It was a beautiful, sunny, blue-skied, warm day when John Wells met a small group of HPSers to conduct his provisional "0" Hike up these relatively easy 3 peaks. At the start, John gave an excellent introduction to the day, including a warning about rattlesnakes in the area: in fact, he mentioned the specific part of the trail where he had recently encountered several. Everyone was suitably impressed (and cautioned) and the hike was underway.

After reaching all three peaks without mishap, the group began its return. John was quick to mention the "rattlesnake area" was approaching. At this point, Jerry Wells (no relation, and now only barely a friend) fell suddenly with an "injured" ankle. Our fearless leader John rushed to the sorry scene ... Jerry was writhing in agony. As John investigated the medical emergency, asked questions and felt (for what?) the ankle, with Jerry's wife Lucy cooing reassurances, Ron May felt the call of Mother Nature and went on ahead to allegedly relieve the situation during this unexpected delay. In fact, he blew up a large, life-sized plastic rattlesnake, planted it next to the trail, and tied a long piece of green floss (he's a dentist you know) to the snake, and the loose end to a rock which he placed next to the trail further back towards the group. As he returned to the group with Mother Nature satisfied, Jerry's ankle suffered a miraculous recovery and he was able to stand, and yes, continue the hike.

It was only a few moments later when Ron passed the rock, tugged on the floss and we all watched as a huge rattlesnake came flying along the ground towards the group, with, of course, John Wells in the lead. We all froze ... John, in particular, was paralyzed. The rest of us were so delighted that we roared with laughter for a good half hour while poor John realized fully the "burdens of leadership".

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